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RIDE (MBTA paratransit)

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The RIDE paratransit service provides door-to door, shared-ride transportation to eligible people who are unable to use the MBTA's fixed-route transit (bus, subway, trolley) all or some of the time because of a physical, cognitive or mental disability. Please visit The RIDE's page on the MBTA website for complete, up-to-date details.

Who can use this option? The RIDE serves passengers with disabilities, of any age or income level.

Serves the following communities:

  • 60+ municipalitites in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Suffolk counties (including Brookline and Newton); see the Service Areas & Contractors section, below.
  • Does not go outside Route 128 loop
  • "Extended RIDE service" is available for trips with origin and destination within 3/4 mile of fixed route service that operates either outside of these hours or in other municipalities within 3/4 miles of MBTA bus service. Call for details.

The RIDE is available for all types of journeys, both medical and non-medical.

Requested arrival and return times must be at least one hour apart.

How much does it cost? For most trips, the local one-way fare for each registered passenger or guest is $3, when booking 1-14 days in advance.

You must have funds in your RIDE account to schedule a trip. You can add funds to your account in several ways.

  • Online: http://commerce.mbta.com
    (funds are available after 2 business days)
  • By phone: 888-844-0355
    (funds are available after 1 hour)
  • By mail: (allow 5 business days for funds to post)
    MBTA - The RIDE Fares
    10 Park Plaza - Rm. 5000
    Boston, MA 02116
  • In person: CharlieCard Store at Downtown Crossing Station, 32 Summer Street--via the 101 Arch Street building--in Boston (weekday business hours only; funds are available after 1 hour)

One-way fares for "premium" non-ADA trips are $5 per registered passenger or guest. This applies...

  • when the trip origin and/or destination is greater than 3/4 miles from MBTA bus or subway service and outside of the core areas, or
  • for most same-day trip requests or changes.

Call for details.

Reservationists will confirm the fare when you schedule a trip.

Subscription service may be available for RIDE customers who make a reservation to and from the same locations for three or more days per week. This service eliminates the need to call individually for each trip. Call your contractor for details.

When is this option available? The RIDE operates 365 days a year, 20 hours in day (generally from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.)
How far ahead do you need to plan? Trips may be booked from 1 to 14 days in advance. Reservations hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days per week, including holidays.

Trips to appointments should be scheduled by arrival time. This is to ensure that you are scheduled to arrive before your appointment. Return trips are scheduled by departure time to ensure that we allow for you to conclude your appointment. Requested arrival and return times must be at least one hour apart.

You may review or change trips one to fourteen days in advance of your trip, up until 5PM of the day before service. After 5PM, trips for the following day are scheduled and customers are called to confirm their pickup times. If you do not receive a call by 9PM, call your contractor to be sure the trip has been scheduled.

A same day request, or requests for next-day trips after 5PM, can be placed through the contractor’s dispatcher. These requests cannot be guaranteed, but it may be possible to provide the service at a premium non-ADA fare rate.

If, during callbacks the night before a trip, you receive a promised pick-up/drop-off time that does not work for you, you may negotiate trip times with your RIDE contractor. Please call your contractor as soon as possible. Some changes are not considered negotiations and will incur a premium non-ADA fare rate. These include, but aren’t limited to, changes requested less than one hour before a trip, rescheduling a missed trip, rescheduling at least 30 minutes earlier or later than the originally requested time, changes to pick-up or drop-off locations, or same day requests. Some requests may not be accommodated.

Customers will be considered as “no-show/late cancel” (NSLC) if they do not appear within 5 minutes after the scheduled pick-up time or do not cancel with at least one hour’s notice to contractor. Repeated no-show/late cancellations will result in written notification and possible suspension.

What accommodations are available? Accessible vehicles are used to serve persons with disabilities, including those who
use wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters. Requests for specific types of vehicles will not be honored. Please notify the contractor if you will be traveling with an assistant, guest(s), child, or service animal. Infants and small children must ride in a federally approved child passenger restraint or booster seat. An assistant accompanying a registered user is not charged a fare. One other person may travel as a guest. Additional guests are allowed if space is available. Any guest is charged the applicable fare as noted above. Assistants and guests must travel to and from the same destination at the same time as the registered user.

  • For wheelchair or scooter users, the driver will offer the optional use of an MBTA supplied body belt.
  • Driver will assist customers door-to-door to and from the vehicle, but is not allowed beyond the main door or lobby area of buildings.
  • Driver will assist individuals in manual wheelchairs over one curb and/or step, but may not carry an individual or their mobility devices.
  • A driver will collapse and securely store an ambulatory customer’s manual wheelchair, walker or cane in the trunk or cargo area.
  • The driver will assist customers with boarding and exiting the vehicle, even when accompanied by an assistant.
  • If you or your guest has packages, the driver must be able to safely assist you while at the same time carrying your items to and from the vehicle. Limit heavy or bulky items. Assistance with up to three pieces of luggage per person, not to exceed 40 lbs. each, will be provided for you and your assistant. Keep in mind that this is a shared ride service and space is limited.

Some information is available over the phone in Spanish.

  • Llame 617–222–3200 o 617–222–5146 (para TTY).
  • Presione 2 para obtener información en español
  • Presione 1 para horarios y direcciones de viaje.
  • Presione 1 (para el horario de la información) o 2 (para las direcciones de viaje). Luego, será trasladado a un agente de información.

Some members of MBTA staff speak Spanish, although access to Spanish–speaking staff members is not guaranteed.

Notes Refer to the MBTA's Guide to The RIDE Service (PDF) for more detailed information.

Registered RIDE users are eligible to use paratransit services in other areas in and out of Massachusetts. The federal regulations allow for travel as a visitor in other areas for 21 days in a 12–month period. The Office for Transportation Access, OTA, can provide proof of your MBTA ADA Paratransit Eligibility upon request. Provide this to the visiting agency in order to use their program. If travel will exceed 21 days to a particular area, you may need to apply for certification through that agency.

For services in other Regional Transit Authorities within Massachusetts please call 857–368–4636 (voice), 857–388–0655 (TTY) or visit MassDOT Regional Transit. Availability, hours of service, fares and policies vary within each Regional Transit Authority (RTA). For information on possible MBTA/RTA transfers, contact OTA at 800–533–6282 or 617–222–5123 (voice/relay).

Contact Details Call The RIDE Eligibility Center at 617‑337‑2727 to arrange an appointment for an eligibility assessment. Assessments take place at the MBTA's center in Charlestown. Round–trip transportation to the assessment center is provided free of charge by the MBTA.

Customer Service contacts:

  • 800–533–6282 (in–state toll–free)
  • 617–222–5123 (voice/relay)
  • Email: theride@mbta.com

If you need to contact a specific service provider or contractor, see the Service Areas & Contractors section, below.

For emergencies, call MBTA Police at 617‑222‑1212 (voice) or 617‑222‑1200 (TTY)

Service Areas & Contractors

The RIDE service is currently operated by three organizations under contract to the MBTA.

The Core Area is served by all three contractors and includes Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville. A customer can book a round trip from any area into the core area without a transfer.

Traveling between... And... Who to call
Brookline
  • Boston
  • Within Brookline
  • Cambridge
  • Somerville
Any of the 3 contracted providers (either GLSS, VTS, or NEXT)
Brookline
  • Beverly
  • Chelsea
  • Danvers
  • Everett
  • Lynn
  • Lynnfield
  • Malden
  • Marblehead
  • Melrose
  • Middleton
  • Nahant
  • Peabody
  • Reading
  • Revere
  • Salem
  • Saugus
  • Stoneham
  • Swampscott
  • Topsfield
  • Wakefield
  • Wenham
  • Wilmington
  • Winthrop
Greater Lynn Senior Services (GLSS)

888–319–7433
(voice, toll–free) or

800–621–0420
(TTY, toll–free)

https://handyline.glss.net/rideraccess

Brookline
  • Arlington
  • Bedford
  • Belmont
  • Burlington
  • Concord
  • Lexington
  • Lincoln
  • Medford
  • Newton
  • Waltham
  • Watertown
  • Weston
  • Winchester
  • Woburn
  • Small portions of Billerica that are within ¾
    miles of MBTA bus service
Veterans Transportation Services (VTS)

877–765–7433
(voice, toll–free) or

888–553–8294
(TTY, toll–free)

https://rideaccess.veteranstheride.com/RiderAccess/SignIn/Start.aspx

Brookline or Newton
  • Braintree
  • Canton
  • Cohasset
  • Dedham
  • Dover
  • Hingham
  • Holbrook
  • Hull
  • Medfield
  • Milton
  • Needham
  • Norwood
  • Quincy
  • Randolph
  • Sharon
  • Walpole
  • Wellesley
  • Westwood
  • Weymouth
  • Small portions of Abington, Avon, Brockton and Stoughton that are within ¾ miles of
    MBTA bus service during operating hours
National Express Transit (NEXT)

888–920–7433
(voice, toll–free) or

888–607–7577
(TTY, toll–free)

www.next-theride.com

Newton
  • Arlington
  • Bedford
  • Belmont
  • Boston
  • Brookline
  • Burlington
  • Cambridge
  • Chelsea
  • Concord
  • Everett
  • Lexington
  • Lincoln
  • Malden
  • Medford
  • Melrose
  • Needham
  • Within Newton
  • Reading
  • Somerville
  • Stoneham
  • Waltham
  • Watertown
  • Wellesley
  • Weston
  • Wilmington
  • Winchester
  • Woburn
  • Small portions of Billerica that are within ¾
    miles of MBTA bus service
Veterans Transportation Services (VTS)

877–765–7433
(voice, toll–free) or

888–553–8294
(TTY, toll–free)

https://rideaccess.veteranstheride.com/RiderAccess/SignIn/Start.aspx

  • A customer can book a round trip from any area into the core area without a transfer.
  • A customer booking a trip from the core area to a location outside of core area must call that area’s provider.
  • However, if a customer books a trip within the core area, the customer may call any of the service providers.
  • Trips spanning multiple service areas may require a transfer trip, except for certain trips to border communities. The contractor serving your city or town can arrange transfers for trips to other MBTA service areas. You will remain on your vehicle until the actual transfer to the other vehicle takes place and then continue on your trip.

To schedule trips, please call the appropriate contractor directly. Customers with unconditional eligibility may be able to make reservations online; ask your contractor for details.